Virginia can probably safely say winter is finally behind us! But that's doesn't mean we won't still see some ice. Tornado and severe weather season is here and that means hail storms are likely. Hail and straight line winds are equal opportunity destroyers, nearly impossible to prevent, and usually the damage is clear. But it's important to know when they cause hidden damage to your home.
Hail damage to the vinyl siding on my Stafford, Virginia home, March 2017
In March 2017, parts of Virginia experienced fierce storms that unleashed 60 mph wind gusts and this type of damaging hail. Here in Stafford, the winds blew large jawbreaker size hail completely horizontal and straight into our home denting our air conditioning units, shredding window screens, punching holes across our vinyl siding, and sending roof shingles flying around the yard. It sounded and felt like the polar express was roaring past us! I’ve never experienced anything quite like it.
After my husband and I took pictures and filed an insurance claim, we wondered about the extent of our roof damage. So I asked the experts here at NNINS to help us with some of our questions. They knew exactly how hail can damage a roof and I’m sharing this good-to-know insider information! Here’s what we found out.
How can I tell if the roof was damaged?
Generally, damage can be seen as indentations and/or fractures on the shingles' surface. Hailstones vary in size, shape, and hardness and can create a random pattern of dents or depressions. If damage to shingles is not evident, look for indentations on metal flashing, siding, chimney caps, or even skylight flashing.
What are the most common types of damage?
- Cracks in the granule-asphalt surfacing, which may radiate outward from points of impact. Cracks may be present especially if high winds blew the shingles back.
- Exposed fiberglass mat, where hail shattered the granule-asphalt surfacing causing it to break away from the fiberglass mat.
- Fractured fiberglass mat, which may or may not be immediately visible. A fractured mat may result in tears radiating out from the points of impact.
Can several individual shingles be replaced or should the entire roof be replaced?
It is possible to replace individual storm-damaged shingles. If individual shingles are being replaced, any nails that were removed from surrounding shingles must be replaced and the surrounding shingles must be resealed by hand for the best results. If a significant number of shingles are damaged, replacement of the entire slope is sometimes recommended for the long-term performance of these roofs.
It sure is good to be informed! One more insider tip:
After the storm we were inundated with door-to-door roof repair solicitations and politely sent them away. Listen, if these guys were as good as they claim to be, they wouldn't need to chase down business. Don’t enlist the help of a drive-by roof/home repair contractor. Instead, rely on a referral from a friend or family member or sound online reviews. We found a local licensed and bonded roofing contractor with excellent reviews online and what a peace of mind that provided!